I was intrigued by this book from the moment I read the synopsis on Netgalley. So I immediately requested it and was granted a digital ARC.
Thanks to Netgalley and Abram Kids for giving me a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review!
Title: Iron Cast
Author: Destiny Soria
Publisher: Abrams Kids/Amulet Books
Expected release date: October 11, 2016
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 384 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose ‘afflicted’ blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.”
My rating: 4/5 stars
Ah, first off, that cover! Let’s just admire it in all its splendor. I don’t see many PoC on YA books…ever so yay! This book is also filled with a diverse cast of characters, including a PoC main character and an LGBTQ side character! *throws confetti*
I could not be more in love with this book. Strong female characters with a powerful friendship who also make an amazing duo, both as performers and also as con artists. I mean, where do you read about young female con artists? I will say that we aren’t shown much of the cons but we are told about them through the main characters themselves, Corinne and Ada. I would have liked to see more of that part of the story.
I wasn’t fully enraptured with the setting. There were small quips here and there by the author that let you know it’s the early 19th century but personally, I wanted more of the setting. We get the contrast between Corinne’s privilege life as the daughter of a wealthy Boston family against that of Ada, the daughter of an African mother and a Portuguese father. We see how the prejudices and constraints of the time affected both of the characters and I like that dichotomy (fancy word there, I hardly ever use it).
The romance wasn’t overplayed either, which I enjoyed. I like the connections Corinne and Ada made with their respective male characters. It felt…natural, but it was obvious that the romance was not the center of the story.
I struggled with the image of Johnny Dervish as an “infamous gangster.” I don’t know if that’s because we don’t get a lot of time with him during scenes or just scenes of him at all. This, in turn, made me struggle to understand both Corinne and Ada’s devotion to him. Now I can understand that they appreciate him because of what he did for them but afterwards… Well, that ranges in the spoiler territory and I won’t do that!
The concept of the novel, of people known as hemopaths who can create allusions through various means, due to an “affliction” of the blood is incredibly creative. It makes me think a bit back on Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I like that there are different types of hemopaths, too, and we meet them throughout the story without being overwhelmed.
I am really hopeful for a sequel. I don’t read many standalone novels so maybe it’s just the series reader in me that wants another book but hey, I’d be up for it.